Compare a minimum of three statistical packages that are available to statisticians and/or students of statistics.
We have multiple statistical packages that are widely used and available to social scientists to conduct statistical analysis. All these packages have their strongholds and weakness that make them widely used. Some of these statistical packages include SPSS, MS Excel, Biomed, STATA, SAS, among others. In this article, SPSS, MS Excel and STATA shall be discussed.
SPSS which stands for Statistical Package for the Social Sciences is a software that was originally designed to meet the analytical needs in social sciences. SPSS is well known for its effectiveness in data management. It makes an analysis of data quicker as the program knows where cases and variables are located. Data blocks in SPSS cannot be moved since they are meant for information organization in an optimal manner. SPSS is advantageous in that it has a broad range of options. SPSS is specially made to analyze statistical data and thus offers various methods, graphs and charts. It also comes with some techniques of screening or cleaning of the information thus preparing it for further analysis (Bausch & Bankhofer, 2012).
SPSS has a better output organization as it is designed in a way to separate output from data itself (Jarrett and Lefkowitz, 2006). It’s able to keep all the results in a file that is separate and different from the data unlike programs like Excel that places analysis results in one worksheet presenting a likelihood of overwriting other information accidentally.
However, SPSS comes with several shortcomings despite the fact that it is easy to use. SPSS doesn’t have many pooled cross-sectional routines. It is also bit more expensive as compared to other programs like STATA and Excel.
Microsoft excel is a spreadsheet which was developed by Microsoft windows. Like other packages ms excel has some advantages and disadvantages. Some of its advantages are; MS Excel builds professionally looking worksheets by use of few clicks in the user-friendly interface (Barnes, 2009. The new Ms excel has readily improved user interface making it able to organize one’s information in a systematic manner. It has appropriate tools and commands that help one accomplish the task. Ms excel helps one manage and hold extensive data. It supports multicore processors which help one to be able to calculate formula-intense tasks.
Ms Excel enables better file recovery. There is a new XML format that can be used to reduce the size of records hence better data retrieval. This new form is convenient when it comes to storage requirements. It also enables one to enjoy robust and improved table features. It creates filters, size and expands multiple tables with the set of formulas (Yalta, 2008).
Despite numerous advantages, Ms excel has its own disadvantages like; it is vulnerable to virus attacks which are spread through macros. Many users also claim that Ms excel cannot be easily shared compared to other office applications due to its large databases.
Stata which stands for statistics and data is statistical software used to analyze data. It is specially used in field of economics. Some its merits are; it is excellent for standard and advanced in panel data models. It uses broad language enabling it to be uncomplicated in creating basic plots like histograms, scatter plots among others. Stata is easy to learn; one can easily learn and understand its commands. It contains dialogue which gives access to almost every precise control (Mitchell, 2008).
It is web enabled and fully supported. It can be updated through the internet. It often contacts its web users and enquires if there are more recent versions (Jann, 2007). Stata is also user extensive; it goes beyond the limits of its official STATA since you can acquire new STATA commands from numerous websites.
Some demerits of STATA include; it constraints to accept files directly, while some files require lengthy coding as well as a strict format to read as its database.
Barnes, K. (2009). Skills Most Sought After by Employers Retrieved October 24, 2009, from
Bausch, T. & Bankhofer, U. (2012). Statistical software packages for PCs — A market survey. Statistical Papers, 33(1), 283-306. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/bf02925334
Jann, B.( 2007). “Making regression tables simplified.” Stata Journal7 (2): p 227-244.
Jarrett, J. & Lefkowitz, J. (2006). Introduction to Statistical Computer Packages. Journal Of The American Statistical Association, 81(395), 874. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/2289049
Mitchell, M.( 2008). A visual guide to Stata graphics. 2nd ed. College Station, TX: Stata Press
Yalta, A. T. (2008). The accuracy of statistical distributions in Microsoft Excel2007. Computational Statistics & Data Analysis, 52(10), 4579-4586.